Bogus CCTV cameras: Props for crime deterrence

By Miguel C. Gil

A recent memorandum by the Quezon City government to the effect that business permits will no longer be issued or renewed unless businesses comply with a mandatory requirement for CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras reportedly has many micro and small entrepreneurs in the Manila-suburb worried.

“Zeny,” who recently opened a small business in the Anonas district sums-up their fears, “Na-ubos na yung konting kapital namin mag-asawa sa pag-tayo ng maliit na water-refilling station. Saan pa kami kukuha ng pagpakabit ng CCTV camera? Baka magsara kami?” (Our modest capital was used to put-up our small water refilling station. Where will we get the additional money for CCTV cameras? We may be forced to close shop?)

Jonathan Co, proprietor of security electronics retailer Faire Technologies, Inc., admits that quality CCTV systems may indeed be a heavy burden for the small businessman. He used as an example the Rover RVH-3000 system, a popular item in their “middle price range” line, which costs around Php 28,000 in its basic two-camera set-up. A more elaborate 4-cam set-up will cost the buyer around Php 35,000, he added. This excludes installation charges.

Co explained that the RVH-3000 lends itself well to the budget-conscious businessman because it allows the consumer to choose from a wide range of cameras that would be mated to the same recorder. Choosing a cheaper camera can, therefore, bring down the total cost of the package. But not by much, he admits again.

THE REAL DEAL: Pictured is a fully operational high-quality unit from Rover Systems. But fake CCTV’s can also appear deceptively real!

An entrepreneur with shallow pockets and who operates from a very small store may even go a notch lower if only to comply with City Hall’s wishes, Co said. He said that serviceable 1-cam systems are also available from his company for Php 18,000 or even lower.

As a tool of last resort, however, Co revealed that his company also sells “fake” CCTV cameras. This is nothing more than the outer casing or shell of the gadget without the camera inside. More elaborate fake CCTV’s come with a pulsating red light to better fool a potential intruder.

Fake CCTV’s may be bolted unto the ceiling in strategic places around the store or home in much the same way real CCTV’s are installed. But because of their light weight, they apparently can even be installed using super-glue! They typically sell for only Php 500 or thereabouts.

A better application for fake CCTV’s, in this writer’s opinion, is to use them in conjunction with a real and fully operational CCTV camera system. A basic two-cam system may be augmented by the addition of several highly visible bogus units in order to create the illusion that every square inch of the store or home is covered!

Home Defense Journal (HDJ) does NOT recommend any fake CCTV unit as a substitute for the real thing for obvious security and legal considerations! But the psychological deterrence they provide may allow them to exist alongside FULLY OPERATIONAL security electronics.

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